The Canadian government, and governments around the world, are responding to the coronavirus pandemic and are recommending that everyone, regardless of symptoms, engage in social distancing behaviours. So, let’s talk about coronavirus quarantine, social distancing and how to manage social isolation
What is social distancing?
According to NewScientist, social distancing practices are “changes in behaviour that can help stop the spread of infections. These often include curtailing social contact with a view to delaying transmission and reducing the size of an outbreak.”
You can personally reduce your risk of infection by reducing your rate of contact with other people. This also helps reduce the overall rate of transmission by individuals who have not yet shown symptoms.
This includes staying at home whenever possible and maintaining a safe distance from other individuals when you must go out.
What’s the difference between isolation and social distancing?
Social distancing means keeping a safe distance (approximately 6 feet) from others and avoiding gathering spaces such as schools, churches, concert halls and public transportation.
Quarantine involves avoiding contact with others if a person has been exposed to coronavirus to see if they become ill.
Isolation involves separating an individual who has contracted COVID-19 to prevent them from spreading it to others.
How to Manage Social Isolation
Humans are inherently social creatures and thrive on human connection so it makes sense to feel lonely (or a range of other emotions) during this time of social distancing so before anything else remember to validate your feelings.
Here are some tips on how to manage social isolation:
- Manage anxiety. Anxiety is a natural response in the face of a public health emergency and it provides the function of motivating us to prepare and seek out support both which are important during this time. Though it’s important to thoughtfully prepare and not allow this to turn into panic. Continue to engage in practices that help manage anxiety.
- For some, cannabis can help manage anxiety. Read more about what the research says about cannabis and anxiety in our research series.
- Consider taking time for self-care. Have a cannabis-infused bath with Miss Envy’s bath bombs. Add your favourite tincture to your morning coffee, because why not you don’t have to go anywhere anyway. Start a creative project or finally finish reading that book.
- Use psychological practices to maintain stress. It’s important to be realistic in your assessment of concern, so ensure you’re obtaining accurate information about confirmed cases and risk in your area. Try not to catastrophize; instead, focus on what you can do and accept the things you can’t change.
- Stay connected. Manage your feelings of isolation and loneliness by staying connected through digital communication. Technology is often seen as a threat to social connection but it doesn’t have to be. Text communication often doesn’t feel the same so switch to video chat.
- Move your cannabis social rituals online!
- Maintain a regular routine and engage in healthy lifestyle activities. Maintaining a daily routine can help us preserve a sense of order and purpose in our lives despite the unfamiliarity of isolation. Try to include regular daily activities, such as work, exercise or learning, even if they must be executed remotely. It’s also important to get enough sleep, eat well and exercise when you are physically capable of doing so.
So, even though people are talking about this in terms of coronavirus quarantine, in reality, most of us are not being asked to quarantine but engage in appropriate social distancing.
Though this type of social distancing can be challenging and have a negative impact on our mental health. Social distancing and isolation are precautionary measures to help reduce the likelihood of transmission of the virus and keep those vulnerable people in our communities safe. So, stay home when you can and connect with communities and friends online.